2017 List of speakers is being finalized. It will be listed here soon!

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Alpers, Jessica

Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP)

Jessica and Laura work with a diverse group of growers in the region to implement holistic farm management and assist with pollution prevention practices.

Speaking Saturday at the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference

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Biernbaum, John

Michigan State University

The needs of experienced to beginning farmers learning to manage soils, production and marketing to grow farm resilience and personal happiness will be addressed by providing valuable experienced based ideas, perspectives and tools for success.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

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Bingham, Sierra

Bear Earth Herbals

Raised in Northern Michigan, Sierra has studied plants and herbal medicine for 10+ years. She is now the owner of Bear Earth Herbals, a local herbal tea and salve company, and a Certified Herbalist.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Blaauw-Hara, Jami

23 Seeds Farm

Jami Blaauw-Hara is an educator and grower with an interest in regional sustainability and diversity. She has worked on vegetable farms and, through 23 Seeds Farm, is helping to develop locally adapted small grains.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

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Blumerick, Cory

Greenstone Farm Credit

Cory Blumerick studied ornamental landscaping at MSU and tropical plant and soil science at The University of Hawai’i. Cory has worked in the industry for 15 years and is a crop insurance specialist for Greenstone Farm Credit Services.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Brandt, Katie

Groundswell Community Farm

Katie Brandt and Tom Cary own Groundswell Community Farm in Zeeland, Michigan.  The farm grows 300 varieties of organic vegetables for 160+ CSA members, 3 farmers' markets and several health food stores.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Britton, Phil

Cherry Capital Foods

Phil is the GroupGAP Coordinator for Cherry Capital Foods.  He serves on the Marquette Food Co-op Board of Directors, and was the QMS Lead for the U.P. Food Exchange's 2014 GroupGAP Pilot. 

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Carpenter, Greg

Crooked Tree Breadworks

Greg Carpenter is the Proprietor andHead Baker at Crooked Tree Breadworks in Petoskey, MI.  He has specialized in baking naturally leavened, artisan breads since 1993.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Cary, Tom

Groundswell Community Farm

Katie Brandt and Tom Cary own Groundswell Community Farm in Zeeland, Michigan.  The farm grows 300 varieties of organic vegetables for 160+ CSA members, 3 farmers' markets and several health food stores.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Conners, Diane

Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities

Diane Conners, senior policy specialist at Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, will talk about the 10 Cents a Meal initiative that provides schools in a pilot project with extra funding to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables, and the latest on efforts to turn this into statewide policy.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Curtiss, Chuck

RECON Intelligence Services
Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America

Financial analysis and strategic business consulting are daily activities of RECON Intelligence Services, working with organizations of many sizes. Chuck has been active in working alongside the members of the Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America since their early days, as they introduce this superfruit that is gaining national attention.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

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DeDecker, James

Michigan State University

James DeDecker is a Field Crop Educator with MSU Extension based in Presque Isle Co. Michigan.  He works to support small grain and other field crops producers through on-farm research and educational outreach.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

DuCheney, Steve

Saskatoon Michigan Farm and Fruit

Dubbed by WTCM radio as Saskatoon Steve, this woodworker has turned his vision to working with wood while it is still growing. Whether it be propagation, planting, pruning, harvesting, or preparing and selling saskatoon delectables, Steve has done it. He continues to spread the vision of the Institute, blended with his experience, to build his future and produce a growing number of happy customers.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Dykema, September

September’s Herbs and Produce

Information coming soon!

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Falk, Ben

Whole Systems Design
Author, Resilient Farm and Homestead

Ben developed Whole Systems Design, LLC as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. Life as a designer, builder, ecologist, tree-tender, and backcountry traveler continually informs Ben’s integrative approach to developing landscapes and buildings. His home landscape and the WSD studio site in Vermont's Mad River Valley serve as a proving ground for the regenerative land developments featured in the projects of Whole Systems Design. Ben has studied architecture and landscape architecture at the graduate level and holds a master’s degree in land-use planning and design. He has conducted nearly 200 site development consultations across New England and facilitated dozens of courses on permaculture design, property selection, microclimate design, and design for climate change. Ben is the author of the award-winning book the Resilient Farm and Homestead (Chelsea Green, 2013).

SPEAKING Friday at Farm School
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Fletcher, Grant

Nutrition & Retail Services - Bronson Healthcare Group

Grant Fletcher is Director of Nutrition & Retail Services at Bronson Healthcare Group, with 400- and 218-bed hospitals in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Bronson has made local purchasing a part of its identity, with one hospital purchasing directly from farmers, the other via food distributors. 

SPEAKING Friday at farms, food, & Health,
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Fred, Ellen

Conservation Partners

Ellen Fred is an attorney and mediator practicing law in Michigan and California in the areas of real estate and tax law, focusing primarily onland conservation transactions and income, estate, and nonprofit tax issues. She represents landowners and land conservancies on myriad aspects of farm and ranch succession and conservation transactions.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Frietas, Tom

Food Service Director - Traverse City Area Public Schools

Tom Freitas, food service director for the 10,000-student Traverse City Area Public Schools and Dave Ruszel, food service director for the 415-student Leland Public Schools, will speak on how farmers have best tapped into the market of selling food to their schools, both farm-direct and through a distributor. Each will talk about how their programs have evolved and grown over time.

SPEAKING friday at farms, food & Health,
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Hay, Julie

Red Fox Gardens

Julie Hay lives in Elk Rapids where she proudly grows cut flowers and wild toddlers.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Herman, Bill

Human Resources, FairShare CSA recipient

Bill Herman is Human Resources Director for a Wisconsin manufacturer that partners with the FairShare CSA workplace program, which he hails as a vital part of his company’s wellness initiatives. He has tips on what works and what doesn’t for farms tapping into this market with employers. 

SPEAKING friday at farms, food & health
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Hubbard, Charlotte

Author, Dronings from a Queen Bee: The First Five Years

A beekeeper since 2008, Charlotte Hubbard works over 20 hives in SW Michigan, and is author of Dronings from a Queen Bee: The First Five Years, among other publications regarding bees.  All profits go to food bank charities.  Her Facebook page and website (www.hubbardhive.com) advises newbees what to look for and when in their hives, and overviews her bee involvement.  Charlotte speaks nationally on behalf of this critical insect, often focusing on the human-bee dynamic.

SPEAKING Friday at Farm School
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Jones, Erika

FairShare CSA Coalition

Erika Jones is Executive Director of the FairShare CSA Coaltiion, which works with employers large and small on how to incorporate convenient CSA drop-offs into their wellness plans, and three insurance companies that offer employees partial rebates of CSA fees as a wellness benefit.

SPEAKING friday at farms, food & health
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Kozak, Mary Ellen

Field and Forest Products

Mary Ellen Kozak and Joe Krawczyk met in a college mycology class and soon afterward, expanded their mutual interest in the natural world into a 30+ year partnership in both marriage and in business, as owners of Field and Forest Products in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. They are committed to producing high quality organic mushroom spawn as well as locating, developing and offering the best mushroom strains, cultivation supplies and cultivation techniques to anyone interested in successfully growing and enjoying edible fungi.

SPEAKING Friday at Farm School
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Koucky, William

Grand Traverse Culinary Oils and Flours

William Koucky is the owner of Grand Traverse Culinary Oils and Flours, producers of sunflower and canola oils and, stone ground flour from locally grown grains including hard red and white wheat, emmer, buckwheat, Abernaki Calais flint corn, and soft white wheat.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

 Krawczyk , Joe

Field and Forest Products

Mary Ellen Kozak and Joe Krawczyk met in a college mycology class and soon afterward, expanded their mutual interest in the natural world into a 30+ year partnership in both marriage and in business, as owners of Field and Forest Products in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. They are committed to producing high quality organic mushroom spawn as well as locating, developing and offering the best mushroom strains, cultivation supplies and cultivation techniques to anyone interested in successfully growing and enjoying edible fungi.

SPEAKING Friday at Farm School
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Lantz, Natasha

Marquette Food Co-op
U.P. Food Exchange

Natasha is the Outreach Director for the Marquette Food Co-op and Co-Lead for the U.P. Food Exchange (UPFE).  Natasha owned and managed Dancing Crane Farm, a small sustainable farm and teaching center located in Skandia from 2003-2011.     She initiated and coordinated UPFE’s involvement in the 2014-2015 USDA GroupGAP Farm Food Safety Pilot Project.  Natasha serves on both the MIFFS Council and the MI Good Food Steering Committee as well as a variety of other state, local, and federal groups focused on building community via development of vibrant, economically-viable, local food networks.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Lively, Kelly

Cherry Capital Foods

Kelly Lively is Institutional Partnership Manager of Cherry Capital Foods, a business that delivers Michigan-grown and produced products to retailers, schools and hospitals statewide. One customer is the 1,068-bed Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. She has tips on what her customers want.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Matts, Colleen

MSU Center for Regional Food Systems

Colleen Matts, farm to institution specialist of the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, will summarize local food procurement efforts at other schools in the state, and share useful tools for farmers.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

McCabe, Jeff

Nifty Hoops

Jeff McCabe is co-founder of Selma Cafe and the Tilian Farm Development Center.  Jeff is passionate about building resiliency and capacity in local food systems.  In 2011 Jeff launched Nifty Hoops to further innovation in hoophouse design and use.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

McCain, Laura

Sodexo, Food & Nutrition Services - Munson Medical Center

Laura McCain is a chef, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with Sodexo, Food & Nutrition Services at the 400-bed Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. Munson’s 2,500 daily cafeteria customers find it easy to buy local food for home use through a hospital wellness initiative.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Milbrath, Meghan, Dr.

Michigan State University
Bending Sickle Community Farm
Northern Bee Network

Dr. Meghan Milbrath is the coordinator of the Michigan Pollinator Initiative at Michigan State University, where she coordinates and performs pollinator related research and education.  She has studied honey bee diseases working as a postdoctoral research associate in the Entomology Department with Zachary Huang.  Meghan began working bees with her father as a child over 20 years ago, and now owns and manages Bending Sickle Community Farm, a small livestock and queen rearing operation in Munith, Michigan.  Meghan teaches multiple beekeeping classes; has taught queen rearing courses at Michigan State University; and runs clinics and beekeeping consulting through her apiary.  Meghan has been an invited speaker to many academic and beekeeper events ranging from regional apicultural meetings and national conferences to small discussion groups on bees at local libraries. She is an active member in the South East Michigan Beekeeping Association, the Center of Michigan Beekeeping Association, is the district 2 representative for the Michigan Beekeeping Association, is the acting president of the Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers and the coordinator of the Northern Bee Network, an organization dedicated to promoting sustainable beekeeping in northern climates.

SPEAKING Friday at Farm School
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Miller, Daphne, Dr.

Medical doctor and author on food and health

Ever since a high school biology teacher informed Daphne Miller that clover produces a hormone similar to human estrogen, she has been fascinated by how our external ecosystem is linked to our internal one. Dr. Miller is a practicing family physician, author and Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco. Her writings and profiles can be found in many publications including the Washington Post, the New York Times, Vogue, Orion Magazine, Yes! Magazine, Food and Wine, the Guardian UK and Harvard Medical Magazine. She is author of The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World, Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You (HarperCollins 2008) and Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up (HarperCollins 2013).

Dr. Miller is an internationally recognized speaker in the emerging field of health ecology and a leader in the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative, an effort spearheaded by the National Parks Service to build linkages between our medical system and our park system. Her 2009 Washington Post article “Take a Hike and Call Me in the Morning” is widely credited with introducing “park prescriptions,” a concept that is rapidly gaining traction across the United States. In Dr. Miller’s popular lectures, she speaks about food, farming and health

Dr.Miller is a graduate of Brown University where she majored in medical anthropology. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed a residency and NIH-funded research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She is currently a Fellow at the Berkeley Food Institute and a past Bravewell Fellow at the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine. She serves as an advisor and/or board member to a number of non-profits, including the Institute of the Golden Gate, Education Outside, Mandela Marketplace and the Edible Schoolyard Foundation.

Miller lives and gardens in Berkeley, California.

Friday evening keynote speaker
Speaking Friday at Farms, food & health
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Mudge, Ken

Cornell University
Co-Author, Farming in the Woods

Ken Mudge is a retired associate professor emeritus from the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University. Throughout his career he has taught courses in Forest Farming, Plant Propagation, Agroforestry, and Nursery Management. His research teaching and extension involved temperate forest farming with an emphasis on forest cultivation of specialty mushrooms. Ken and his co-author Steve Gabriel have recently published the book Farming the Woods (Chelsea Green).

SPEAKING Friday at Farm School
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Newman, Trevor

Roots to Fruits Ecological Design

Trevor is an avid horticulturalist and amateur pomologist. He has co-taught Permaculture Design Courses and given lectures to various universities, garden clubs, and community groups on topics such as edible landscaping, agroforestry, and uncommon fruits. He owns and operates Roots To Fruits— an edible landscaping and ecological design firm based in SE Michigan. Trevor is the president of the Michigan Nut Growers Association and co-chair of the North American Fruit Explorer’s permaculture special interest group. He writes about and explores growing fruits and nuts on his blog, The Fruit Nut.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Olds, Annie

Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program of Networks Northwest
SBDC Northwest Regional Director and Small Business Consultant.  

Growing up on a small family-owned dairy farm, she knows the importance of business and growth planning, value-added product development, marketing, and cash flow management for small operations.

SPEAKING Friday at Farm School
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Palmer, Abbey

Marquette Food Co-op

Abbey Palmer grows food in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. At the Marquette Food Co-op and the NMU Hoop House, she works to educate people of all ages about the benefits of choosing local food—and how to grow it themselves.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Ranger, Kristine

The Learning Connection

Kristine is a teacher, performance coach and pioneering leader whose work focuses on developing infrastructures to capitalize on human, social and intellectual capital. She designs and implements transactional and transformational interventions to improve employee engagement, team cohesion and organizational results.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Rigan, Laura

Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP)

Jessica and Laura work with a diverse group of growers in the region to implement holistic farm management and assist with pollution prevention practices.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Rogers, Casey

Fertrell Company

Casey Rogers is a Livestock and Poultry Specialist with The Fertrell Company in Bainbridge, PA. She holds a Master's Degree in Food Studies and focuses primarily on the nutrition and management of all the animals on your farm.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Rossman, Dan

Michigan State University, retired

Dan Rossman grew up on a family farm, certified organic since 2002, in Northern Montcalm County where he farms today. Dan has a B.S. in Crop and Soil Sciences and a Masters Adult Education. He recently retired after 34 years with MSU Extension. 

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Schaap, Jen

23 Seeds Farm

After dabbling in the industrial design world, Jen Schaap found the life-changing powers of dirt and began a second life working on, supporting, and promoting the small farm. 23 Seeds Farm, an experiment in testing rare grains, is her first independent farm project with farm partner Jami Blaauw-Hara. 

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Scheel, Jonathan 

Scheel Family Farm

Jonathan Scheel grew up on a small cash crop farm in Minnesota raising corn, soy beans, and oats. Today he would like to be part of the new local food economy using his farming knowledge to grow small grains for local bakers.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Scrimger, Joe

Bio-Systems

Joe Scrimger has farmed organically since 1975. He has attended and instructed numerous educational programs on Organic and Biological farming and is the owner of Bio-Systems, a soil testing and consulting business.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Shackelford, Michelle

Perbellus Flower Farm

Michelle Shackelford is the owner and operator of Perbellus Flower Farm in Cedar, MI. She has had a lifelong love affair with plants making flower farming a natural choice. Michelle completed her Associates of Applied Plant Science at Northwestern Michigan College with a Certificate in Landscape and Nursery at Michigan State University. Perbellus is heading into its fourth season and is now growing on 1 acre. Michelle grows a wide variety of plants including English roses, peonies, tulips, dozens of varieties of shrubs and hundreds more varieties of annuals and perennials. She sells the majority of her flowers to local wedding florists and through a bouquet subscription. She plans to expand her sales to more florists, grocery stores, and larger bouquet subscriptions. Michelle also created the Facebook group the Cut Flower Co-op. She facilitates the group orders of plants, seeds, and bulbs from large wholesalers. The group has made it much easier for small farms to purchase the plant materials needed at much better prices. It has also been a wonderful networking and learning tool. Growers from all over the country participate and together they have been able to expand the floral consumers knowledge of American grown flowers.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Shepard, Mark

Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC
New Forest Farm

Mark Shepard is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC and founder of Restoration Agriculture Development Inc. and Restoration Agriculture International Inc. He runs New Forest Farm, the 106-acre perennial agricultural savanna considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States.

New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland and eastern woodlands as the ecological models.

Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals), fuel, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is entirely solar and wind powered and farm equipment is powered with locally produced biofuels that are not taken from the human food chain.

Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of forest derived agricultural products for human foods and bio fuels production. Mark was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Mollison, the founder of the international Permaculture movement.

Mark serves on the board of the Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development Council. He teaches agroforestry and Permaculture worldwide. Mark is a farmer member of the Organic Valley cooperative, the worlds largest Organic Farmer’s marketing co-op, and is the founder and chief Cydermaker for the Shepard’s Hard Cyder winery in Viola, Wisconsin.

SPEAKING Friday at Farm School
& SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE

Smith, Thomas M.

Associate Director of the Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT) at Michigan State University. 

Thomas’ major responsibilities and expertise focus on developing and delivering training and educational programs for US veterans (Vets to Ag) in partnership with MSU Extension, state agencies, businesses and community partners that lead to enhanced job skills and employment opportunities in food and agriculture. He also specializes in the development of on-line and blended curricula, especially for the wine and grape industry. Tom also works to develop online programs with international partners who may benefit from IAT educational program expertise.

Prior to joining MSU in March of 2008, Tom was the Executive Director of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation and the Michigan Ground Water Association. He brings further business experience to his position at MSU, having owned and operated businesses in the green industry and technology transfer for over 35 years.

Tom holds a BS and MS in Crop & Soil Science from MSU. His technical expertise is in a broad range of areas relating to turf and ornamentals, food, agriculture and natural resources and he has been a Master Gardener instructor for over three decades.

SPEAKING SATURDAY AT THE NORTHERN MICHIGAN SMALL FARM CONFERENCE